If a proposal for $15 minimum wage doesn’t pass in the Mass. Legislature, it will be a ballot question in 2018. That’s according to Senate President Stan Rosenberg, who said the issue could, like many others, ultimately be decided by voters.

Rosenberg has previously expressed hope that a paid parental leave issue will be taken up by the legislature, but if not, he expects a ballot question. If the Legislature and constitutional convention approves the "Millionaire’s Tax" — a proposal that would increase taxes for those with an income of $1 million or more — the amendment will ultimately go to a ballot vote.

These proposals represent a larger, dangerous trend, Rosenberg told Boston Public Radio in an interview Tuesday.

“People have increasingly been using the ballot as leverage to get the Legislature to do what it should be doing,” he said. “I’d prefer, always, that we do it in the Legislature.”

BPR host Jim Braude asked Rosenberg how the assumption of a ballot vote makes him feel about his position as Senate President. “Why do we need you?” Braude asked. “Why don’t we just have direct democracy and let the public do what needs to be done here? Doesn’t that trouble you?”

“We can save people a lot of time, effort and money by just focusing on doing these things in the Legislature,” Rosenberg said.

Doing things in the Legislature takes care of a lot of behind-the-scenes background work that takes care of important details, Rosenberg said. The parental leave issue is an example: the proposal was put on the table, new versions were taken into committee, and stakeholder groups (business organizations, trade associations) will all be involved in a series of public hearings.

“The whole point of doing it in the Legislature is that you can balance the interests, come up with a good plan that we can afford, a good implementation strategy, and getting everybody together on the same page,” Rosenberg said.

If that doesn’t work out, there's always the ballot. 

To hear Sen. President Stan Rosenberg’s full interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio player above.